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19 June 2011

[Silent Film Marathon] 4# A Woman of Paris (1923)


Directed & Written by: Charlie Chaplin
Music by: Louis F. Gottschalk
Runtime: 93 Minutes
Genre: Drama
So to my surprise a title card was presented at the beginning of the film with a message from Chaplin saying this is his first attempt in making a serious drama and he does not appear in it. All I can say is he did an excellent job. A Woman of Paris holds a firm story of a woman wanting to escape her life, but things don’t go according to plan and the tides turn throughout the story. It’s a wonderful drama that in the end you understand fully and can appreciate it’s meaning. Alongside is Chaplin’s terrific poetic language –not verbally- with his title cards that hold as the narration. It is 1923 and Chaplin’s career has just begun and is slowly becoming very recognised in his line of work. This film is another classic film full of a delightful story, characters that engage you and a delicate story as always with Chaplin films.


An Iconic moment from the film.
Plot:
As always you can notice my structure of intro, plot then what I loved about the film, followed by the conclusion. Well the plot is quite simple. We meet a young woman called Marie and her lover, Jean. She is locked in her house and elopes for the night to be with her lover. Marie lives with her father, who when she returns does not let her stay for the night in an outrage. So Jean takes her to his house to see if his parents will let her stay. His father awakes with outrage and Marie is upset and thinks she should go. He leaves the home with Marie and plans to go away on a train to Paris, but when h returns to pack his bag as Marie waits at the train station, his father dies sitting on the chair at the fireplace -whose death is never explained-. So he tells Marie the trip must be postponed. The train pulls up and Marie goes alone. From their onwards it’s a drama of fate and follows Marie’s new life.
Marie with ehr new life with her husband whom does not take her seriously.

Chaplin creates a great Drama
I knew it would be good even as Chaplin’s first attempt for a serious drama, because most his feature-film comedies where heartfelt and had drama moments. The story is terrific and the characters are golden. We have Marie, a woman who once wanted a new fresh life and ends up with a rich man whom she comes to dislike, Jean an artist who now lives with his mother and all the supporting characters are simplistically golden. Chaplin has proven himself a worthy writer by far and aside his great direction, this film has memorable moments and is overall terrific. The film shows that being rich –during this time period- doesn’t have all the benefits of the world. So that’s what was nice to see about it.
Jean with his mother upset about his plans to marry Marie, which he soon ends.
 Overall:
One of the film end title cards say "Time heals, and experience teaches that the seret of happiness is in service of others", and that's what I meant by Chaplin's terrific sayings. The film has wondrous mimic acting from Edna Purviance as Marie and Carl Miller as Jean and the film had character complexities that were relatively new to cinema at this time. Let’s not forget the wonderful music from Louis F. Gottschalk, and as a silent film it is always important the music to be good, as I have said several times in my reviews for silent films. So overall A Woman of Paris may not be the finest of Chaplin’s work, but that does not say much for all the films I have seen him direct, writer & produce have been wondrous. Overall this film is a terrific drama of fate full of representation.

My Rating: 8/10

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